All posts tagged Producer

12 Questions: Dave Muehsam

Dave MuehsamHi, I’m Dave Muehsam.

I grew up in Media, Pennsylvania and graduated from Penncrest High School. I started my adult life with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Photographic Illustration from the Rochester Institute of Technology. From there I went to Los Angeles and learned video production.  After 26 years, I sold West Coast Post and my wife and I brought our two kids back East so they would know their grandmother. I still work for a few clients in Los Angeles but the bulk of my local work these days seems to be for pharmaceutical companies. Marketing, sales, meeting support- that sort of thing.  I love it and it keeps me busy.

Dave is principal of All 1 Media. Contact him at:

Email: dave@all1media.com
Web: all1media.com
Phone: 484-643-0578

And now, the 12 Questions:

1. What kind of kid were you?

If you were to believe my teachers, smart, but lazy.  That’s also what they tell me about my son, so I’m not too worried.  I know when he finds his “spark,” he’ll do just fine.

2. What influences have shaped you?

As an editor, I’ve seen it all.  Good and bad.  I’ve seen what works and what doesn’t. This has turned me into a pretty good producer, avoiding costly mistakes before they happen.

3. Ever done anything really dumb?

Yes, but that shall remain my secret.  I have two more years on the statute of limitations.

4. How’d you learn to do what you do?

When I first arrived in Los Angeles I was hired by Redken Laboratories as a photographer.  They later decided video was cool and I agreed.

5. What are you working on now?

I just finished a video demonstrating the clinical differentiation for a meningococcal vaccine portfolio (awesome fun) and a two-minute “sizzle” piece for the opening of a national sales meeting. I also help out the Performing Arts department at Longwood Gardens on a regular basis.

6. Walk us through a typical day at work.

If I’m not scheduled on-site for a shoot, or on a tight deadline, I bid my wife goodbye as she leaves for her job with benefits, make a cup of coffee, fire-up my computer and see what needs to be done. Or maybe I’ll shovel snow or mow the grass.

7. Who do you love?

I love everyone except violent criminals, most of Washington DC and some drug-addicts.

8. What are you passionate about?

Being alive often stirs me up.  I also like being the editor on a project whenever I can- I’ve always loved editing and I think I always will.

9. What are you proudest of?

My daughter and son and  the fact that except for the four years I was with Redken, I’ve always worked for myself and always know who to blame or exalt.

10. Describe a great night out.

A good restaurant.

11. So what’s next for you?

A tropical climate and a margarita fountain.

12. What will your epitaph say?

This space reserved for Dave Muehsam.

 

12 Questions: Dennis Steele

Dennis SteeleHi, I’m Dennis Steele.

I am a freelance writer/producer/voice actor, with commercial clients such as the Phillies, the PA Lottery, the Inquirer, Car Sense, the Sands Co., plus numerous Medical/Pharma clients, financial service firms, political campaigns and insurance companies.  I’ve narrated a number of films, including “Seeing the Gross Clinic Anew,” produced by The Philadelphia Museum of Art, and “Footsteps in the Snow,” a Lifetime Movie Network presentation, produced by Nancy Glass Productions.  I also generate about 600 on-hold messages a year.

My writing/production credits include: Steven Singer Jewelers, EP Henry, Solar City, Dish Network, etc. I’ve produced corporate videos, TV commercials, fund-raising films and just recently completed an animated video with my buddy Dave Blazek for Xylem, Inc.

Notable Accomplishments:  Voice on virtually all Phillies TV and radio commercials for 15+ years, creator of the “I Hate Steven Singer” radio ad, which became the cornerstone of Steve’s decade+ “I Hate Steven Singer” campaign.  Two Philly Gold Awards and four Addys.  Little League baseball/softball coach for 18 years.

I live and work in Villanova and have been married to my high school sweetheart for 35 years.  Three of our four kids are “off the grid,” and are highly-functioning adults.  Addicted to television and media of all sorts, love good food and wine, sports (esp. the Phillies,) bicycling, and hearing and telling good stories.

You can reach me at steelecreativity@gmail.com and www.steele-creative.com

And now, the 12 Questions:

1. What kind of kid were you?

My family insists I’ve been “showing off for company” since I could talk.  I have two much older siblings and one much younger, so I had no real “sibling rivalry,” and I spent a lot of time on my own.  I watched a lot of TV as a kid, and as a result, just like our parents warned us, it rotted my brain.

In the third grade, I was cast in a college production of “A Music Man,” and my fate was sealed.  I’ve been performing pretty much ever since.  I was in an all-city boys choir in middle school, acted in plays and sang in a rock band in high school and college, and I received my BFA in radio/TV and film from the University of Cincinnati-College/Conservatory of Music (CCM).  So the professional baseball career had to be put on hold.

2. What influences have shaped you?

First and foremost is my wife and best friend, who is the smartest, most decent, logical and ethical person I know.  Not sure where I would be without her.  My mother, who is 94 years-old, taught me resilience and the benefits of seeing the glass as half-full.  I have some great men in my life ,whom I looked up to and still do:  My dad, my brother, my older brother-in-law, my father-in-law.  Professionally, my old friend from high school, Tom Sandman, who advised me to go to CCM, and helped get me my first “real” radio job, as his assistant at WEBN in Cincinnati.  I learned so much of what I know about writing and production from him.

Locally, I don’t have a voice-over career without Scott Sanders, Gary Bridges and Gary Moskowitz, former owner of Baker Sound.  My love of American History and politics can be traced to two influential teachers, one in high school and one in college.  I can’t underestimate the influence of Looney Tunes, Monty Python, Firesign Theatre and the National Lampoon.  And a great group of friends in and out of the business continue to shape and motivate me today.

3. Ever done anything really dumb?

Every day I do at least one dumb thing.  I’m very forgetful.  Seriously, I lose my keys about three times a week.  My dumbest career move was taking a radio job, sight-unseen, from an ad in a trade paper, which landed me in Flint, Michigan.  The station was #1 in the market, but the facility was so bad, they had a room air conditioner in the production studio.  Think about that.  The nine months spent in Flint were the most surreal times of my career.

4. How’d you learn to do what you do?

I learned how to sing, including breathing, in the Boys’ Choir as a kid.  I received a lot of great training in announcing in college, including pacing, script marking and microphone technique.  WEBN in Cincinnati was formative in my learning how to tell stories with just voice, music and sound effects.  And before I ever started shopping a demo to ad agencies and studios in Philadelphia, I had read over 3000 spots as a station producer.

5. What are you working on now?

I just finished collaborating with my buddy Dave Blazek (the brilliant ad writer for the Inquirer and author of the syndicated cartoon, “Loose Parts”) on an animated “Year in Review” video for Xylem, Inc. in NJ.  I created sound files for Nationwide Bi-Weekly Administration’s phone system, and recorded some on-hold messaging for long-time client, Spectrio, in Florida.  Last month, I wrote and produced a series of 15-second radio spots for Steven Singer that are currently running on satellite and internet radio. Last week, I actually did a political ad. I wrote some Dish Network radio copy for the Radio Agency in Media, and I narrated seven corporate jobs for various pharma/medical clients.

6. Walk us through a typical day at work.

That’s one of the things I love about my job; there really isn’t a “typical” day.  Every day is different.  But there are patterns.  I seldom get booked for a vo job more than a week in advance, so my schedule has to be fairly flexible.  I get up pretty early in the morning; usually before 6:30, because my wife and daughter are up and out early for work/school. I have a wonderful workspace in my home, with plenty of room to write, or play music (to distract me from writing,) and a basic rig for recording vo at home.  I prefer working at one of the local studios to working at home, but these days, it’s unavoidable.  When I’m in a studio, it’s usually at Baker, Alkemy X, Philly Post, Center City Film and Video, 2nd Street in NoLibs or Mars Audio in Gulph Mills.  When I’m not doing the work, I’m trolling for more work, or working to get paid for the work.

7. Who do you love?

I love my wife most of all, my kids, my new daughter-in-law and her family, my extended family, including my wife’s enormous clan, my mom, my siblings and their kids and grandkids.  I’m blessed to have some tremendous colleagues who’ve become close friends.  Our neighborhood is unusually close, and we’ve made some great friends there. And my wife and I have some close friends whom we’ve known since we first got to Philly in the 80’s.  Can’t forget our two Westies.

8. What are you passionate about?

Again, my wife is right at the top of the list.  I’m intensely interested in my kids’ lives and try to stay close, without hovering.  I have a passion for collaborating with people, whether it’s working on a project, playing music with friends (I play a little guitar and mandolin…very little), or cooking with a group of people.  I care very deeply about current events and politics, although I never wade into those waters except with family and close friends, and never on social media.  I love music, all kinds.  And I love history, especially American history.  I love the pursuit of excellence, whether it’s in sports, music, art or storytelling.  I’ve been known to get passionate about the Phillies and Eagles.

9. What are you proudest of?

First, my marriage, and the life my wife and I have built together.  Next are my kids.  They are a constant source of joy. I’ve been able to make a pretty good living here as a freelancer for going on 28 years.  And there’s only a couple of people in town who don’t speak to me, so that’s good.  I’m proud to have so many long relationships and steady, regular clients.  There’s nothing better than good word-of-mouth, and repeat business.

10. Describe a great night out.

A great night out usually involves people I really like, good food, wine (red).  Lots of laughing.  Stories.  Once in awhile, a good cigar (not good for the voice.)  Very often, it involves music, either making it, or enjoying it in the foreground or background.

11. So what’s next for you?

I hope to keep my clients happy for another year. There are always surprises; new projects, new opportunities.  I’d love to do more work like narrating documentaries.  I’m open to whatever lurks around the corner that we can’t see yet.

12. What will your epitaph say?

“That guy really knew how to parallel-park.”

12 Questions: Mark Gambol

Hello, I’m Mark Gambol.

IMG_2787_400pxI am a director of photography, cameraman, still photographer, director and producer, production manager and coordinator; but my biggest hat is that of a problem solver!

I graduated from Penn State in 1993 and started my career in 1994 for a small production company in Philadelphia. While there I was able to learn the ins and outs of production, production managing/coordinating and more specifically – camera work. I started MG Pictures in 2000 and I haven’t looked back. I’ve worked on hundreds of projects covering broadcast television and cable, Emmy-nominated television shows, documentaries, “reality tv”, professional sporting events, national news, and non-profit groups.

I surround myself with a other highly skilled and dedicated professionals to capture stories for a wide-range of clients. When I begin a project for a new client, I do a lot of listening.  I am interested in learning about who you are as a person and what your story is all about. I ask a lot of questions! Even in my personal life I want to know about the people around me.

My adventures and hobbies – both in and out of the production world – have taken me all over the world. I am an explorer, traveler and adventurer. I need to see every town, city, village, mountain, ocean, jungle or dessert that I can before I die for work and for pleasure.

You can read and see more about me and my company at www.mg-pictures.com or give me a call at 484-431-4824. I’d love to meet you and see if we can work together on your next story. Email works too! mark@mg-pictures.com

And now, the 12 Questions.

1. What kind of kid were you?

Athletic and adventuresome. Freshman year of High School introduced me to rock climbing and from that, the ability to handle extreme situations and believe in myself.

2. What influences have shaped you?

Of course my family and friends, but my high school physics teacher was and still is an amazing teacher outside of the classroom. And my mentor whom I met on my college internship at 6ABC here in Philly. She introduced me to a much bigger world filled with different races, religions and ideas. This suburban kid is forever in debt to her for what she showed me.

3. Ever done anything really dumb?

Of course! Who hasn’t? But I just can’t seem to make a great decision when it comes to buying cars… I don’t know what it is but it always frustrates me.

4. How’d you learn to do what you do?

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On the job training with a small company where I could get my hands dirty and make mistakes. Watching others do their job. Reading and watching movies and tv shows for inspiration. But I’ve also continued to learn and grow by hiring people who aren’t necessarily better at what I/we do, but those who do it differently and can show me a new way of approaching the same old shot. One piece of advice I’ve always tried to give someone just getting into the business is to “Learn what not to do.” I still live by that credo!

5. What are you working on now?

A series of spots/psa’s for Big Brothers/Big Sisters on becoming a mentor and getting back in touch with old clients to start working on new projects.

6. Walk us through a typical day at work.

I wish I had a typical day! I would love to “work” everyday but that isn’t the reality sometimes for a freelancer. So on those days when I am not on set I am working on finding new clients and projects or reaching out to old clients to touch base and see what’s new.

7. Who do you love?

I love my family and friends. My daughter and her friends. My straight friends and gay friends. As long as you are a good person there is plenty of room for you in my life. And if we don’t get along I promise to be open to your views, opinions and beliefs. I just like good people no matter where you are from.

8. What are you passionate about?

I could take the answer from #7 and put it here as well. But I find myself passionate about work and getting better at what I do. I love photography of all sorts. I love looking for a new adventure or place to travel. Finding out what is around the corner excites me. Trying to grill the perfect steak!!!

9. What are you proudest of?

Raising my daughter and being able to support my family while doing something I truly love for my career. I am proud of myself for reaching my goals and setting new ones every year. I don’t think people say they are proud of themselves enough. I depend on myself and my attitudes to get me through the good and bad. Be proud of yourself and stand up for who you are and what you’ve done.

10. Describe a great night out.

Grilling out for friends on the back deck on a warm night. However, I have grilled out in the snow for friends as well.

11. So what’s next for you?

The new seasons for “Awesome Adventures” and “Awesome Planet” will be starting in February. It’s a great show produced by Steve Rotfeld Productions here in the Philly area. I have been the DP for the past three seasons for these nationally syndicated shows. I’m getting my carnets in order and gear all packed for what promises to be another great year of adventure and travel in the US and abroad.

12. What will your epitaph say?

It wasn’t the right way, it wasn’t the wrong way… It was my way.

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Know somebody who should be featured on 12 Questions? Tell us!

12 Questions: Richard Power Hoffman

Richard Power HoffmanHi, I’m Rich Hoffman.

I am an independent filmmaker that does a little bit of everything- write, shoot, direct, edit, produce- on a wide variety of projects.  I grew up in Philadelphia, and returned to the area in 1997 to marry my high school sweetheart and start Coyopa Productions, my client service business.  I’ve done everything from weddings and bar mitzvahs to commercials, corporate, educational, and legacy films.  Over the years, I’ve managed to squeak out a few of my own projects, including Invisible Mountains which won Best Film at DV magazine’s 2003 film festival.  I first started developing my still-image movie technique with 2007’s Fridays at the Farm, which won several awards and was selected for ten traveling film festivals before airing nationally on The Sundance Channel.  Later that year, I created Prayer for Philadelphia, which won the grand prize in a contest held by the Philadelphia Inquirer.  I’ve also I’ve received three Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Fellowships (for screenwriting, documentary, and narrative filmmaking).

In 2009, I co-founded Spring Garden Pictures, which is a non-profit film organization that creates films and supporting educational materials for science museums.  Our first big project is Watermelon Magic, which has been released in seven markets (currently at Harrisburg’s Whitaker Center) and will open in Seattle this spring and at the Smithsonian in D.C. later this year.

You can reach Rich at:

610-246-5133
rich@springgardenpictures.org
www.coyopa.com
www.springgardenpictures.org
www.watermelonmagic.com

And now, the 12 Questions.

1. What kind of kid were you?

I was a bit of a smart aleck as a kid- always trying to make my classmates laugh and getting in trouble for it.  I didn’t mind making myself the butt of a joke if it got someone to smile.  I was and am still curious about most things, and never really understood the phrase “I’m bored”.  I played lots of different sports, was into comic books, and discovered way too late that I am ambi-dexterous (Catholic school casualty…)

2. What influences have shaped you?

When I saw David Lynch’s Wild at Heart as a sophomore in high school, I thought- “what the hell was that?”  I didn’t know you were allowed to make movies that beautiful and twisted.  I always loved watching movies as a kid- Star Wars, Time Bandits, The Dark Crystal, Raiders of the Lost Ark come to mind, but they seemed so otherworldly and beyond my capabilities that I never imagined myself as a maker of films.  Wild at Heart opened a door for me and allowed me to dream of my own space as a creator in this medium.  Prior to that, I had begun to get very interested in art in high school, and thought I might want to be a painter.  As I began to make more films, I realized that filmmaking was a better fit for my abilities.  I continue to be influenced by art, music, and the natural world, perhaps more so than I am by other films.

3. Ever done anything really dumb?

Oh yeah! One time I put my thumb on a cigarette lighter just to see if it worked.  Ouch!   That might have been forgivable in a 5-year old, but I was 18 at the time. My thumb blistered up pretty bad and I had a hard time falling asleep that night.  Another time I stuck a knife in a toaster to get out a stuck piece of bread.  Luckily, my brother unplugged it before I electrocuted myself.

4. How’d you learn to do what you do?

I started out making karate movies with a friend in middle school.  He had a big VHS shoulder-style camera that he borrowed from his aunt (and never gave back), and we would make films with in-camera edits.  We didn’t have a tripod, so his 8-year old sister would often be the DP.  The camera had a cool overdub function, so we would score it with a Casio keyboard and add dialogue after shooting.

As a senior in high school, I took an independent study on filmmaking, since we didn’t have a real course or equipment.  I saved up from my job as a dishwasher at a pizza place to buy a camera of my own, then used two VCR’s to crash edit the way I did in middle school.  By this time, I had applied to a bunch of art programs and NYU film school.  I chose the latter and loved it.  After graduating, I worked at a stock footage house in NYC and watched a lot of time-lapse footage.  I finished up my senior project (shot on 16mm film), and then moved back to the area with my wife.  Since I couldn’t afford film, the arrival of digital video was a great way for me to continue to create at a relatively affordable level.  After making a feature in DVCAM, I missed the clarity and color depth of film, but HD was still out of reach.  I decided to try making a film with a high-resolution digital still camera, and have loved experimenting with time-lapse and various still image techniques ever since.  This ultimately led to my recent completion of an IMAX film (Watermelon Magic) for science museums using over 200,000 stills.  I find that I am continually learning new things and trying to expand my palette of abilities.  Next up- become a better draftsman for storyboarding!

5. What are you working on now?

I have several fulldome/Giant Screen films in development, including a collaboration with Tim Shepherd, an amazing cameraman that specializes in plant time-lapse photography.  We’re also working on more supporting materials for Watermelon Magic, including a children’s book and a hands-on exhibit for museums.  I continue to do client work, and am always grateful when someone thinks my talents are worthy of hire! Here’s a piece we just finished for the Philadelphia Flower Show: http://www.vimeo.com/springgarden/whatisbeauty.

6. Walk us through a typical day at work.

When I’m not out shooting or working in Spring Garden Pictures’ space in Philly, I usually am working from my home office.  I start by making a big pot of black tea, then take twenty minutes or so to plan my day and center myself.  I try to reserve mornings for creative work- writing, editing, drawing, etc.  In the afternoons, I will usually do what I call my producing work- correspondence, meetings, planning, billing, etc.  At some point, I try to sneak an eighteen-minute power nap, which recharges me for the rest of the afternoon and a night with the family.  Sometimes, I have entire days/weeks of producing work, or creative work, but I find that I am usually happier if I can balance my day out with a bit of both.

7. Who do you love?

I love my wife and three kids, my dog, my parents, my brothers and sister, my community of friends, my clients, and of course, my donors!

8. What are you passionate about?

I am passionate about this planet, and hope my work can in some way raise awareness for us all to become better stewards of it.  I am more than a little discouraged by the onslaught of dystopian fantasies of the future that are currently pervasive in the media, and hope to counter that with more positive visions that we can aspire to create.

9. What are you proudest of?

I’m proudest of my family and the love that we share.  As for my projects, it is usually the last thing that I’ve worked on, though occasionally I see a glimmer of something good in my older work.

10. Describe a great night out.

A date with my wife is top on my list, usually dinner and a movie.  I have gotten her interested in good beer, so we like to find places that cater to us beer snobs.  I also love playing poker, darts, and other games with my homies.  I’m a gamer and much more competitive than I’d like to admit, and I’ll play just about anything except lawn darts.  I might hurt myself.

11. So what’s next for you?

One of my joys is that I never quite know what is next.  There are always projects swirling in the ethers that are waiting to be manifested.  Usually, something beyond my control compels me to bring them into form.  Often, this involves funding of some sort.  Sometimes, it is an unending nagging from within that tells me I must make a film, but money definitely helps!

12. What will your epitaph say?

Husband, Father, Friend.  Shine a Light in the Darkness till the end.

Richard Power Hoffman

Know somebody who should be featured on 12 Questions? Tell us!

Twelve Questions: Bill Haley

Bill HaleyWith more than 2,000 commercial credits to his name over the past 20 years, Bill Haley is one of the region’s most prolific media makers. He  is an award-winning producer/director and principal of Allied Pixel, a digital media production firm that connects the dots between video and interactive. He’s also one of the founders of PhillyCreativeGuide.com. Bill lives in Chadds Ford with his wife Rebecca, two kids and numerous pets. Contact him at bill.haley@alliedpixel.com.

1. What kind of kid were you?

Shy. I was the kid at the birthday party who was standing in the corner, wondering when I could go home. I spent a lot of time riding around on my bike, thinking about things. Continue reading →